Pace is critical for Hoop Vols

When the Basketball Vols try to run on the road, they get run over (see 95-56 loss at Florida). When the Basketball Vols try to walk on the road ... well, they still get run over (see 82-60 loss at Mississippi State).

What does that leave? Well, head coach Buzz Peterson thinks success may lie somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. He doesn't want his team racing wildly up the court on every possession but he doesn't want it moving at a snail's pace, either.

After scoring 80 or more points in seven of its first 10 games, Tennessee has slowed it down in the seven games since. The highest point total during that stretch was 76 points vs. Vanderbilt. The second-highest total was 68 points. Clearly, Peterson has tightened the reins a bit.

''The reason I might've pulled back a bit is because we're not taking care of the basketball,'' he said. ''If we're handling the ball a little bit better, I may let them go a little bit more. The early part of the season, the more we ran, the better off we were.''

Tennessee's success running the fast break ended when SEC play began and the level of competition stiffened. Still, Peterson wants his team to score in transition when the opportunity presents itself.

''I want us to push it when it's there, especially when we've got Stanley (Asumnu) on the wing; he's better in transition than he is in halfcourt offense,'' the head man said. ''At Mississippi State, I felt like we just kind of walked into our (offensive) sets. I want us to run into our sets when we get our offense going.''

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